New year is one of those strange celebrations in that there are very few traditions. Unlike Christmas with turkey, or Easter with lamb and lots of chocolate, there is no guide to what you should be eating.
So, if you are planning a New Year’s Eve party or maybe a dinner, the most important thing is to have wines that are going to appeal to as many people as possible.
You’re going to need some fizz, and probably in large quantities, so good value is the key word here.
Exquisite Collection Crémant du Jura 2014 (Aldi £7.99) seems to appear regularly in wine columns and with good reason.
It is, without question, one of the best value sparkling wines you’ll find on the supermarket shelves.
The Jura is a French wine region, little-known in the UK, but their sparkling wines, known here as crémant, can offer a fantastic alternative to fizz from other regions in France and indeed from Spain or Italy.
This is made from 100 per cent chardonnay using the same method to produce it as Champagne.
This is very fresh with fine bubbles, there is green apple fruit, some citrus and even a touch of brioche on the nose, followed by a very clean palate with crisp acidity.
I’m not sure quite sure how Aldi manage to sell this for £7.99 but this is an easy choice for new year and worth buying by the case so you’ve always got one in the fridge.
Giesen Dillons Point Sauvignon Blanc 2016, Marlborough (Waitrose £6.99 on offer from £9.39 until January 23) is the sort of crowd-pleasing Kiwi sauvignon blanc which seems to find its way to every gathering.
Classic Marlborough, with passion fruit, a touch of gooseberry, zesty acidity and a mouth-filling finish. It's difficult not to like and great value while on offer.
When it comes to red wines here’s a couple that I would happily serve at a new year’s gathering.
Rustenberg RM Nicholson 2015, Stellenbosch (Majestic £13.49 but £9.99 if part of a mixed six) is from one of the most picturesque and oldest wine estates in the Cape.
It’s named after a previous winemaker on the estate and is a blend of Shiraz, merlot and cabernet sauvignon before being aged in a mixture of new and older oak barrels for 16 months.
This is bound to win wide appeal with its nose of blackcurrants and plums with some spice and dried herbs, before a relatively full-bodied mouth feel with well-structured tannins and a nice fresh finish.
It's not going to win any prizes for finesse but with its generous fruit it would match well with any red meats or big bowl of tomato-based pasta.
If you want a bottle that, if nothing else, will be a conversation piece and just a little different then Zom Douro Reserva 2015 (Aldi £8.99) is a great choice.
A blend of Portuguese indigenous grapes, aged in French oak, it’s a very dark colour and there are some crunchy red fruits, together with blackberries and a little savoury spice, the palate is very approachable and it has a really well-balanced finish.
This without doubt tastes more expensive than it costs and wouldn’t go amiss with a bowl of chilli.